Summary: Sermon from the series "Practical Christian Living" on the topic of waiting on the Lord.
Waiting on the Lord
James 5:7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door! 10 Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name as an example of suffering and patience. 11 See, we count as blessed those who have endured.You have heard of Job’s endurance and have seen the outcome from the Lord. The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
INTRO: Most of you have heard me say many times in the past that we will all go through trials and difficult times throughout our life. We struggle with emotional and health issues, financial issues, family and relationship issues, just to name a few. Sometimes we contribute to the difficulties, or bring them on ourselves through our own actions. But, there are also times when circumstances are out of our control and we're faced with a difficult situation not of our making.
What should we do when we find ourselves in a difficult situation? Well, the first thing we should do is to evaluate the situation and see if we are contributing to the problem. If we find that to be so, the simple solution is to stop or change the behavior or attitude that caused us to get in trouble.
(Man digging hole) - If you find yourself in the bottom of a deep hole that you've put yourself in, the first thing you need to do is to put down the shovel and quit digging!
But, that still leaves us with the question of what to do when we are faced with the situations and circumstances of life that are not of our own making. How should we respond when circumstances are out of our control.
Fortunately for us, the Bible gives us instruction in what we should do. In the passage we read together this morning, James gives us 3 powerful principles that we should follow when we're facing the trials of life. If we will learn to consistently apply these three principles, we will not only be able to endure, but to overcome and to see the power of God working in our lives like never before!
I. BE PATIENT.
James 5:7 Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming.
To understand this passage of Scripture better we need to understand the context in which it was written. Many of the recipients of this letter were suffering through intense persecution for their faith. They were rejected by both the Jewish people and the Gentile people because of their faith in Christ. As a result of this persecution, they were going through extreme difficulties in their personal lives and in their churches. Yet James, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, instructs them to "be patient." This was not just some flippant saying given to someone dealing with a minor inconvenience - this was a powerful revelation from God to His people who were going through terrible difficulties!
I know from experience that being told to "be patient" is not what most of us want to hear when we are going through trials. But, that is exactly the powerful truth we NEED to hear - and to not only hear it, but we need to take this truth to heart and apply it into our daily lives.
A. What does it mean to "be patient?"
The word translated as "patient" in this verse comes from the original Greek word "makrothumia" which means to hold out under an extended trial; or, a long-protracted restraint of the soul without giving in to anger or frustration.
There is also another aspect to this word "makrothumia" that deals with our relationship with those who do us wrong. This aspect means we don't retaliate against those who may be persecuting or oppressing us. Rather, we treat them with love and kindness and allow God space and time to vindicate us.
When we take all this into consideration we see see that the phrase "be patient" in this context means literally to wait on the Lord, no matter the circumstance, and allow Him to work out His plan in our life.
When we are afflicted, we wait on the Lord.
When we are injured or done wrong, we wait on the Lord.
When we don't understand why, we wait on the Lord.
Even when we can't see God's plan for our life, we wait on the Lord.
B. Why should we be patient?
1. Because God says so. (v.7 "Be Patient") - This phrase is written in an imperative mood which means it is a command from the Lord. We must learn to be patient in every situation because God commands us to do so. To be impatient is to be disobedient and is a sin.